Sunday, March 29, 2015

CHECKING IN…

For the past five days I've been pretty much laid low by some sort of nasty bug. Virus? Bacteria? I dunno. But decidedly awful whatever it is. I haven't been this sick, or felt so bad, in at least a decade. Muscle aches, chills, sweats, coughing, sneezing, runny eyes and nose, loss of appetite—everything but a fever, which probably rules out flu. Though no flu I've ever had rendered me as miserable. 

I swear, even my hair hurts! I feel like I've been run over by a bus.

Of course I'm up and down all night, unable to sleep or even rest. But equally incapable of sitting up for very long. I'm writing this post during one of my short periods of suffered verticality. 

The only good part about this ordeal is that I've not missed any nice days outside. Yesterday and the day before barely made it above freezing. Today, while mostly sunny, is still cold. I probably wouldn't be doing much outdoor work even if I were better…so I don't have to feel guilty over wasting time.

I'll let you know if I survive… 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

GLOOMY GRUMBLES

Another rainy, cloudy, chilly, gloomy day. Where'd that nice early-spring weather go? I'm eager to get started on various remodeling projects, and this isn't the sort of weather I want to see since—even though I'm working inside—my sawing and painting requires at least dry outdoor conditions. Temperatures above freezing wouldn't hurt, either. 

Even the birds seem a little depressed. A robin has been hanging around the dooryard all morning…not feeding, mind you, either on the food I've put out, or whatever tasty tidbit can be found with a bit of scratching nearby. Instead, Mr. Redbreast has just been moping about, alternating his loitering between various rocks and limbs and stumps.

The usually cheery chickadees are equally lackadaisical. The red birds have lost their whistles. And the kingfisher who decided to perch on a limb overlooking the river simply sat there in what appeared to be a feathered funk—not scanning the water below for vulnerable minnows, just hunkering darkly, like a stranded commuter waiting for a long-overdue bus.

Guess it's just that sort of day…       

Monday, March 23, 2015

WEATHER & WOODIES

It's cloudy this morning, and cold—34˚F at the moment, with a predicted high of only 40˚, plus an 80% chance of snow this afternoon and tonight! Rather discouraging news for those who are desperately longing for spring to materialize sunshiny and green, overflowing with birdsong. 

I want that myself. I'm looking forward to those days. But I've also been around the block too many times to venture out onto that overly hopeful limb. This is, after all, Ohio…and March. Sure, the calendar says it's spring, though that's merely a technical detail—not something you embrace with your heart. 

History matters. Not to mention latitude. March weather here in the Buckeye State is volatile, changeable, slow to make up it's mind, prone to backtracking—overall, a decidedly iffy affair. To expect too much too soon is foolish, a recipe for certain disappointment.

So I remind myself to be patient and keep an eye out for encouraging signs. Like the quartet of wood ducks who dropped by recently to paddle around in the eddy across from the cottage. Some folks think woodies are the most beautiful bird in North America. They're unquestionably one of the most vividly colored—the males, anyway. Alas, you can't tell from my image, which is heavily cropped and was taken in poor light. 

Still, they are one of the true seasonal signs I can count on each and every spring. Their arrival doesn't necessarily signal spring weather is immediately at hand—you know, the sort we all imagine when when we conjure up our mental image of the season—but they do mean that it's in the works…coming in its own good time.          

I'll settle for that.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

CROCUS, HOORAY!

My crocus along the southeast side of the cottage bloomed last week. The rich orange ones first, then the purple-and-white striped variety, followed by the all-purple blooms, and finally the snow whites. I think that's the full color-range lot of 'em, though I'm not positive. 

Every fall I try and stick a few more bulbs into the ground—as I do with daffodils, tulips, and several other spring-blooming bulbs. Crocus are hardy and pretty foolproof when it comes to care. Nevertheless, some of the bulbs I set out fail to materialize the following spring. Or manage a single appearance and disappear thereafter. 

Whether the fault lies in the bulbs themselves—I sometimes pick up leftover packages of bulbs on closeout—or gardener error, I couldn't say. But occasionally I'm pleasantly surprised to find a crocus I'd forgotten about setting out blooming jauntily on the hillside, or I find a little patch of 'em tucked into a forgotten corner. 

So maybe the full crocus contingent has not yet shown up. No matter…those bright and lovely ones now dancing in the sun have already lifted my vernal impatience.

You know it's spring when the crocus bloom! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

POSSUM PRETTY

I was sitting at my desk the other evening, finishing up a few things while waiting for Myladylove to get home from work, when a hint of movement just over the lip of the riverbank caught my eye. A moment later, a possum clambered into view, pausing at the top to look around furtively, like a sneak thief getting ready to commit a break-in.

It wasn't a big possum, as possums go, not in the least portly…more svelte than porcine. A petite possum with a pink nose that seemed to glow in the gathering twilight. A "she" possum, I decided, though I hadn't a clue one way or the other. But rather pretty for a possum.

Miss Possum had apparently made her way here to check under the bird feeders for any tasty tidbits of noshing interest to a wandering marsupial. I thought about redirecting her around the cottage to the back, were we put out a rather well-stocked compost pile.

She continued to appear apprehensive, or at least nervously cautious, taking a step or two, pausing to look this way and that. Surprisingly alert for an animal generally considered a world-class dullard. Your typical possum invariably seems predestined to make the fatal error of attempting to stare down an oncoming Buick…a singularly vacuous trait that forever secures its title as the poster critter for flattened fauna.

I hoped my pretty little pink-nosed possum avoided that fate.

After a few minutes of nosing about, she ambled around the cottage corner and out of sight. Places to go, things to do. A busy possum, looking for an evening potluck. Which reminded me that Myladylove would be in soon and I needed to get our own supper going. I made a mental note to save a few scraps to put out front—just in case my cute little visitor returned.  

                  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

FOREVER LIGHT!

Light. It always begins with the light. Sunrise, sunset, sidelight, backlight. Light dispelling the darkness; light giving way to darkness. Light cool-to-warm, then warm-to-cool. Dawn, day, twilight, night. 

Light diffused through fog, sleet, snow, falling rain, and clouds. Sculpting, defining light, which often adds a specular, burnished-bronze trim along an object's edges. 

Gold light, pink light, orange light. Shadowy light shot through in tones of blue or turquoise, violet or purple. Light so rich and impossibly gaudy you can breath it, bathe in it, lose yourself within its extravagant treasure. 

Bright light dramatically contrasted against dark clouds. Sometimes even a brief, ominous green light, when a potentially dangerous storm is brewing.

Light which turns the living river into a fiery flow. Transforming, metamorphosing light which changes itself and everything around, as it dims and fades, replacing blazing heat with refreshing shadows. 

"Let there be light!" God proclaimed, and so it was and will forever be—first and foremost—the lovely, ever-changing light.   
    

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

HUMP-DAY BLUES…

From time to time, I expect we all have one of those mornings. 

You know…you get up, head to the job—but once you're there, find you can't quite bring yourself to go to work. Instead, you just want to turn your back on the whole mess, ignore everything, avoid the same-old boring routine, and simply stare at the woods awhile as you catch a few warm rays.

Yep, I truly understand the mood and impetus of the great blue heron who, even now, an hour after I first spotted it and made my images, is still standing in the exact same spot and pose. Oblivious to the snow and cold. Content for the moment to shift from one long leg to the other and let that bright ol' February sun warm his feathers. Musing, perhaps, of all those tasty little fishes who'll fall prey to his deadly sneak-and-stab tactics later on—when hunger calls and he shakes the hump-day blues and decides to get down to the business of fishing.

We're alike in more ways than one—that stately old bird and I. Both feeling a little weary, probably a bit cantankerous, and neither particularly thrilled or in much of a hurry, to be shouldering responsibility and getting with the program this sunny Wednesday morning.
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